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Summary: Since each of you will spend ten years of your life talking - it is of utmost importance that we submit our tongues to Christ and give Him control over their use

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JAMES 3:7-12

NATURAL MAN’S TAMELESS TONGUE

[Psalm 140 / Mt. 12: 33-37]

If you have been to a circus, you have likely seen some impressive animal acts. A trainer enters a large cage filled with lions and tigers, putting them though routines that include jumping through hoops of fire. Bears ride motorcycles; chimpanzees engage in boxing matches; and elephants stand on their heads. Yet for all mankind’s power to tame wild animals, no one apart from God can control their tongue. The tongue tameless.

Not only is the tongue tameless but it is also shameless. It is capable of blessing God on Sunday and cursing persons, who have been made in God’s likeness, on Monday.

Against nature’s consistency, this duplicity of the tongue is particularly tragic. No spring of water issues from the same opening both fresh and brackish water, neither does a fig tree yield olives, nor a grapevine, figs. Indeed, this consistency in nature underscores the shamelessness of the tongue that at one time issues the sweet water of divine praise and at another, the brackish water of cursing men. "Friends, these things ought not so to be" (Jas. 3:10).

The power of speech is one of the greatest powers God has given us. With the tongue, man can praise God, pray, preach the Word and lead the lost to Christ. What a privilege! But with the same tongue he can tell lies that could ruin a person’s reputation, break a heart or send a soul into eternity without Christ. Since each of you will spend ten years of your life talking - it is of utmost importance that we submit our tongues to Christ and give Him control over their use (CIT).

I. THE TAMELESS TONGUE, 7-8.

II. THE SHAMELESS TONGUE, 9-10.

III. THE FORKED TONGUE, 11-12.

Verse 7 proclaims mankind’s ability to some extent tame every species of animal life. "For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race."

The tongue is not only like an uncontrolled fire. It is also like an untamed beast. Every type or species of the four classifications of animals have been subdued or tamed by man. At creation man was given "dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth (Gen. 1:28)." This dominion has been retained by fallen man. James does not say that all the animals have been tamed for certainly no one ever tamed a rhinoceros or an alligator but that animals from all types have been tame, such as parrots, elephants, charmed snakes, and porpoises.

Do you remember Flipper? The famous porpoise starred in one of the most popular television series of the 1960’s. He was fictional, but Tuffy was real. Tuffy served as a member of the United States Navy’s program Sealab II, off the coast of San Diego during the summer of 1966. He carried the mail between the surface and the crew, 205 feet below. He transported tools and even served as a lifeguard when one of the crew pretended to be lost. Humankind has tamed the apparently untamable creatures of the sea. Yet, people never have learned to subdue their tongues.

Verse 8 states that the tongue rebels against being tamed. "But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison."

The tongue of natural man defies all attempts to subdue it, to bring it under control. This is evidence and proof of the immense and mischievous power of the tongue.

The Greek word for tame, meaning "to overpower," "to subdue," "to conquer," was used of bringing oxen under the yoke, of breaking in wild horses, and so on. Men can control great beasts yet cannot control the small tongue. It is an evil incapable of being quieted by natural man.

No one can tame it because it is a restless evil, an unruly, unsteady, staggering reeling evil (with the instability of a double-minded man, 1:8). Lighting upon one subject and then another, ever stirring up evil. Worse yet, the tongue is full of deadly poison. See Ps. 140:3. Like the poison of a serpent the tongue is loaded with the venom of hate, of death-dealing gossip and half- truths. One does not need to look very far to find victims of its activity. The natural tongue is an ungovernable instrument of wickedness, incapable of being restrained. It wounds affections, blasts character, ruins peace, and even in many cases destroys life itself. Many droop and die, pierced by its fatal poisonous arrows.

Children love the circus, but are often afraid of the tiger. They have no reason to be, however, because the huge old cats have been tamed and are caged. Often hopelessly overweight, and I suspect it no longer have any teeth, along with its lion friends, the striped beauty goes through its routine in meek subjection.

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